Amidst all the buzz generated by the Don Siegelman story on 60 Minutes, we've departed for a while from my own story as a victim of corrupt Republicans. But let's return to that subject because a lot is happening on the home front--literally.
In a previous post, we noted that George W. Bush might be remembered more for the domestic terrorism he sponsored than for the international terrorism he supposedly fought. I've seen the tactics of the modern GOP in an up close and personal way.
What tools of terrorism are Loyal Bushies employing against my wife and me in Shelby County, Alabama?
In Part I of this post, I noted that the Republican honchos in my home county, so far, have relied on bogus legal documents.
It started with what is known as a writ of execution, and I posted about our receipt of this document here. A writ of execution, when used legitimately, means a judgment has been found against you in court and the opposing party is trying to collect. The writ of execution sent to us listed our two cars and our house as property to be seized in order to satisfy the judgment debt I allegedly owed.
What was the amount of this enormous debt that could only be satisfied by threatening to take our cars and house? Well, the original "debt" was $1,525, and it was incurred in the summer of 2004. By the time the writ of execution arrived in September 2007, $30 in court costs and $674.64 in interest had been added on for a grand total of $2,229.64.
A couple of points to make at this point:
* Neither my criminally inclined neighbor (to whom the alleged "debt" was owned) nor his ethically challenged attorney had ever made any effort to collect this debt. For more than three years, I never received a phone call, a letter, nothing, saying, "Hey Bub, you need to pay up." Not quite sure how interest and court costs can be added on a debt that the creditor has made no effort to collect.
* The careful reader might have this obvious question: Why would someone threaten to seize your cars and house to satisfy a debt of roughly $1,500? If that sounds fishy to you, join the crowd.
The terrorism was just starting with the writ of execution. It was followed by at least 10 to 12 phone calls, all to my wife's cell phone, placed by Shelby County deputies Eddie Moore and Bubba Caldwell. (Strange that they would call my wife when she was not a party to the lawsuit in question; my number is listed in this thing we call a phonebook.) In one call, Bubba Caldwell (or Caldell, not sure of spelling) specifically threatened to come to our house any moment to seize our car. I posted about that charming call here.
When threats to take our cars didn't cause us to do whatever it is Shelby County authorities want us to do, we received a notice of levy. That missive was taped to our garage door, and I posted about it here. It informed us that Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry intended to advertise and sell our house in order to satisfy this alleged debt of $1,525.
Now, our house is hardly a mansion, but it is worth considerably more than $1,525. So why would Shelby County's esteemed sheriff feel it was necessary to seize and sell our house to satisfy a debt of such a relatively paltry sum? And why would he threaten to take such a drastic step when no one has even bothered to send a simple letter asking me to pay?
It seems that Shelby County GOPers have studied at the Alice Martin/Mark Fuller School of Drama. They always seem to take the most dramatic course of action possible. Perhaps Martin and Fuller picked that one up from Osama bin Laden; seems to be a prime choice in the terrorists' playbook.
I've found that when you are dealing with corrupt Republicans in Alabama, it's hard to know whether to cry or laugh. You want to cry at the thought that people who claim to be patriots and "conservatives" would so abuse our system of government. But you want to laugh because they are such bozos. As bad as they are at governance, they might be even worse when it comes to cheating. They make little, if any, attempt to hide their corrupt motives. Consider:
* The judgment itself, the one in the amount of $1,525 is unconstitutional--That is if you consider the U.S. Constitution to be applicable in Shelby County, Alabama. (And that's a big "if" when you are dealing with a certain breed of Alabama Republican.) Without going into too many details, all of us are guaranteed due process and equal protection of the law under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. A major part of due process includes the right to have your case heard by an impartial arbiter, a neutral judge, if you will. Seeing as how every judge who was involved in my case committed federal crimes, unlawfully favoring the opposing party, I think it's safe to say I did not receive due process or equal protection. So we have absurdity No. 1: The judgment against me is unconstitutional.
* The writ of execution itself is invalid--If you have a legitimate judgment against you, it would be a good idea to become familiar with Rule 69 of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure (ARCP). That outlines the procedure for issuance of a writ of execution, which the judgment creditor can use to come after you, the judgment debtor. But the writ has to be done a certain way. It must include two items--the writ itself and what is called a "Notice of Right to Claim Exemption From Execution." (Form 92, ARCP.) Contrary to what Shelby County Clerk Mary Harris and Sheriff Chris Curry evidently want me to believe, they cannot just haul off and start seizing anything they want--at least not by law. (And that's assuming state law applies in Shelby County--another big "if;" I wasn't kidding when I referred to this place as a banana republic.) A judgment debtor has a right to claim certain property as exempt from seizure or sale. And by law, a judgment debtor must be notified of that right. A writ of execution without that notice is about as worthless as a used hot-dog wrapper. Absurdity No. 2: The writ of execution against me is invalid.
* The notice of levy itself is invalid--Such a notice on real property, like the writ of execution, requires that the judgment debtor be notified of his right to claim exemption from levy. Absurdity No. 3: The notice of levy against me is invalid.
* What about the obvious "solution?"--As I've stated numerous times on this blog, I am not a lawyer. But common sense would seem to dictate that opposing counsel take one of two steps to satisfy a judgment of roughly $1,500: Write a letter demanding that the amount be paid, and if that doesn't work, seek to garnish the debtor's wages. Seems pretty simple, but the other side evidently has no interest in taking that approach. Absurdity No. 4: No one seems interested in garnishment.
* This little matter of jointly owned property--Our house, and our cars, are jointly owned. Again I'm not a lawyer, and I haven't bothered looking up the law on this because the law never matters in Shelby County anyway. But it seems pretty clear that authorities cannot sell our house, when it is jointly owned by my wife--and she was not a party to this lawsuit. And here's what's nutty: We tried to make my wife a party to the lawsuit, or at least my counterclaim. After all, she was harmed every bit as much as I was by our neighbor's wrongful actions. But the Hon. Judge Dan Reeves would not allow it. So the other side made sure my wife was not a party and now they are trying to take away property that she co-owns. As I noted before, this sounds like a story for Oprah: How my husband got sued, and I had my house stolen from me! Absurdity No. 5: My wife is joint owner of our house, and she was not a party to the lawsuit, but Republican honchos are trying to steal her house anyway.
Those are all of the absurdities I can think of, for now. I'm sure I will think of more. But here is the key thing to remember: The point of all of this is terrorism. On 9/11, the folks behind those attacks did not have any interest in the World Trade Center or the Pentagon. There was an ulterior motive behind the attacks on those sites. They wanted to send a message--of fear.
A similar plan is afoot in my battle with the terrorists who run Shelby County, Alabama. They aren't really interested in satisfying a judgment of $1,500. Heck, that "debt" was sitting out there for more than three years, and no one ever made any effort to collect. And if you truly want $1,500, you start with two steps--you demand in writing that it be paid, and if that doesn't work, you attempt to garnish it.
But the terrorists of Shelby County don't want to take such undramatic steps. They want to send a message. And the message is this: "You'd better stop blogging, Bub, because we're not used to someone standing up to us. And we sure as hell aren't used to someone telling the public the truth about our dirty deeds. You and this newfangled blog thing are making us mighty uncomfortable, so we are going to turn to our inner bully in an effort to shut you up--no matter how stupid we look in the process."
Actually, I strongly suspect that this plan goes well beyond Shelby County. I believe this now is being driven by folks with statewide authority. Why do I think that? And who do I think is behind it?
We'll address those questions in a bit.